Editorials ~ Sonoma Valley Sun


Editorial: Boarded windows send the wrong message

Posted on June 3, 2020 by Sonoma Valley Sun


The protests roiling our nation have but lightly touched Sonoma Valley, but all of us here feel the tension and despair that’s broken out in city after city. Looting has occurred, and it’s been an unwelcome distraction from the airing of legitimate grievances about the ways black, brown and native people are treated by law enforcement in America. Our legacy of systemic racism risks unraveling the democracy we’ve spent over 200 years building.

Some stores in Sonoma have boarded up their windows and reduced their operating hours in anticipation, we suspect, of vandalism or looting. Both Safeway (above) and Pharmaca are now covered in plywood, and we believe such actions serve to undermine the protection they purportedly confer; boarded-up stores attract attention and send the wrong message about who we are and what we can expect. Corporations pay mighty insurance premiums to protect themselves from theft and damage; plywood is, frankly, a lousy form of insurance.

Despite the pandemic threatening the health of the nation, people are gathering in droves to express their frustration with the failure of fair and impartial policing, and calling for change. This is not the first time such protests and unrest have occurred, but something about what’s going on is different. America has become highly polarized and social media has accelerated a process of tribalization; people with shared affinities and beliefs are now connected with each other in ways never before possible. At the same time, rhetoric and expression has become more pointed and extreme. 

The Trump White House has exacerbated our differences, and has added an unwelcome level of hyperbole to public discourse. The President himself, seemingly addicted to getting attention through tweeting to his followers, regularly excoriates his opponents and makes outrageous and unsupported claims. Though many miles from California, his actions prompt fear and worry in many members of our community, particularly Latinos. 

Health, the economy, lost jobs and high rents have everybody on edge; what’s called for is calm and confident leadership, not foolish photo-ops or macho shows-of-force. People are scared, and that makes things dangerous. Now is not the time to throw gasoline on a smoldering fire.

We feel confident that any demonstrations in Sonoma will be peaceful and safe. Over the years, we’ve had many such demonstrations, and have proven that the people in this community care about each other and have no interest in creating havoc or chaos. If you decide to participate, please wear a mask, maintain social distance and keep cool. This is our home, after all, and its welfare depends upon all of us.

Read next: City officials, police expect peaceful Plaza protest


3 thoughts on “Editorial: Boarded windows send the wrong message

  1. Business owners in Sonoma have the right to protect their livelihood and should be able to decide what is best for them regardless of what your editorial opinion is. We all hope the protests are peaceful and Regardless of politics we are all united in allowing the protests. What we are not united on and the one thing you fail to mention is that these are not peaceful protest when criminal activity takes place and we all have a right to defend ourselves and out property.

  2. While I generally agree with Michael’s first comments he lost me at a personal attack.

    I, if I had a business, would not board. I stand against violence and vandalism but I do so by going about my life.
    I’ve found there is zero ability against a person that is determined.
    I choose to live my life openly.

  3. I agree if you own a business and you are already in despair from the COVID shelter in place, why would you not protect your property from losing everything. I’ve seen other cities boarding and also armed owners standing watching over their businesses. During the fires here in Sonoma we had looters taking property from evacuated homes. When it comes to our town and our property, family and friends I choose to defend it.

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